It’s Valentine’s Day, which means many people will be indulging in chocolate and other sweet treats.
According to History.com, 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased during Valentine’s Day week alone. But why is it so popular to gift loved ones chocolate on this holiday?
History Of Chocolate & Valentine’s Day
The answer has much to do with chocolate’s supposed romantic benefits. Chocolate has been associated with feelings of love and desire since the ancient Aztecs, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The New York Times claims that Aztec emperor Montezuma was rumored to have eaten copious amounts of cocoa beans in order to “fuel his romantic trysts.”
The concept of giving chocolate as a gift has been around quite a while as well. According to The Independent, a 19th century commentator in Victorian England wrote that men knew chocolate was the way to someone’s heart.
Chocolate contains two chemicals, phenylethylamine and tryptophan, that are associated with enhancing happiness, desire and even, potentially, love. However, chocolate’s aphrodisiac qualities are up for debate among scientists due to the relatively low concentrations of the chemicals in chocolate.
Regardless of the science, no one is ever upset to receive chocolate on Valentine’s Day. But there’s a big difference between chocolate made in small batches and mass-produced chocolate from the big brands.
It just so happens that Buffalo and Niagara Falls are home to many chocolate shops and factories. And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by indulging in some homemade delicious treats from a local business?
This year, we say skip the fancy dinner and eat dessert instead. Here’s some of our favorite local chocolate shops to visit this Valentine’s Day — and year-round.
Where To Buy The Best Chocolate
Fowler’s – Known for their mouthwatering Sponge Candy, family-owned chocolate shop Fowler’s has been producing delicious homemade chocolate since 1910. Fowler’s sells its high-quality chocolate at seven local retail locations, including stores in the Elmwood Village and Tonawanda. Fowler’s chocolates contain up to 60% cacao solids – a much higher content than candy created by most chocolatiers, according to the company. Generally, the higher the percentage of cacao solids used to produce chocolate, the better the quality. For Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with a box of their famous sweet, crunchy Sponge Candy, a bouquet of chocolate roses, chocolate-covered Buffaloreos, or even their popular Buffalo-themed chocolate pizza and wings.
Watson’s Chocolates – With eight local retail locations across Western New York, including shops in the Elmwood Village, on Delaware Ave. in Kenmore, on Transit Rd. in East Amherst and in Niagara Falls, NY, you’re never far from Watson’s delicious chocolate candies. The company was founded in 1946 and continues to produce outstanding small-batch chocolate at their Tonawanda factory. Like other chocolate shops, they pride themselves on their delectable Sponge Candy — they produce 35 tons of it each year, according to their website. Other Valentine’s Day favorites include their peanut butter hearts, personalized solid chocolate hearts and their chocolate emoji suckers. No matter what the occasion, chocolate from Watson’s is sure to please.
Choco-Logo Confectionery Design – In their factory on Broadway St. in downtown Buffalo, Choco-Logo produces premium chocolate in some of the most unique flavors around. They offer chocolates infused with ingredients such as rosemary, wasabi, lemon and peppercorn, and even make a “burger and fries” chocolate bar with bits of beef jerky and deep fried potatoes. It sounds unusual, but adventurous fans of the shop love their creativity. You can purchase chocolates directly at their factory and even take a tour to see how the chocolate is made — a fun activity for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year.
Parkside Candy – Parkside Candy Shoppe & Factory has been serving up delicious chocolate for over 90 years. Their main shop and adjoining factory is located on Main St. in North Buffalo, and the building is even listed In the National Register of Historic Places. This location provides a vintage candy shop/ice cream parlor experience that will transport you back in time. The company also has retail locations in Tonawanda, Blasdell and Williamsville. While Sponge Candy is their signature item, their homemade peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered pretzels and sea salt caramel truffles are all worthy of the special person in your life this Valentine’s Day.
Platter’s Chocolate – Out of a factory located inside the Wurlitzer Building in North Tonawanda, Platter’s makes some of the richest, tastiest chocolate in Western New York. Carl Platter started the company in his basement in 1938, and it’s now one of the most popular chocolate shops in the area. Guests to the shop can watch Platter’s make their chocolate in multiple viewing areas while enjoying their sweet treats. Their specialty is their orange chocolate, a unique and truly delicious combination of flavors that can be added to sundaes at their shop in the form of orange chocolate shavings or orange hot fudge. Their Sponge Candy hearts and custom chocolate novelties are also popular for Valentine’s Day and year-round. You can watch Platter’s make its famous Sponge Candy in the video below.
King Condrell’s – While they may be better known for their mammoth sundaes, King Condrell’s makes some of the best chocolate in Buffalo. Located on Delaware Ave. in Kenmore, this sweet shop with a vintage vibe also sells a huge variety of homemade chocolate candies, fudge, truffles, caramels and more. The best part? In addition to purchasing chocolates by the pound, you can get a sundae topped with their famous hot fudge and homemade chocolates. That alone makes King Condrell’s the ultimate dessert stop, even on a cold February night in Buffalo.